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The Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) was launched in Pretoria today. Saai is an agricultural interest network for farmers by farmers, that is committed to protect and promote the rights, values, ideals and needs of family farmers in the primary production sector.

“In addition to being a policy influencer, Saai was established to play an active role in action-driven projects and strategic solutions for pressing agricultural problems. The organisation is not politically affiliated and will work to cooperate with existing agricultural unions with divergent political sentiments where it is in the interest of family farming,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.

Dr Theo de Jager was appointed Chairperson of Saai’s Board of Directors. Membership is open to all agricultural producers, no matter the size of their agricultural business, their language, age, descent or gender.

“Saai will be managed as a national unity structure, and not as a federation. This facilitates the use or digital technology, recruitment, communication, the giving of mandates and action-driven projects. Direct communication with our members ensures that the network is not paralysed by archaic structures or that their voices disappear in this manner,” Rossouw explains.

“Saai is currently formalising cooperation and network agreements, as well as mutual support with agricultural businesses, operational organisations, research institutions and agricultural organisations that focus on other support bases. The new organisation will also undertake action-driven projects, for example support to land owners who are victims of farm invasion, farm attacks, expropriation at none or reduced compensation, and intimidation,” De Jager says.

Saai’s point of departure in terms of the expropriation of land is that market-related compensation remains the most affordable and only sustainable manner to bring about the type of investments and growth in the agricultural industry in which land beneficiaries and other new entrants will prosper. “Even though the Constitution does not guarantee market-related compensation, it does not prohibit it either. Expropriation below market-related compensation will be tantamount to individual land owners footing the bill for national responsibilities,” Rossouw says.

Saai addresses the absolute necessity of a supportive framework for all farmers. It is time that farmers have a direct say in matters that affect them. Saai encourages farmers to join the family farming agricultural network. JOIN NOW.

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